Since many decades ago people from all Balkan have been in the search for a better life, among them also Slovenians. Life in Slovenia is not bad, but some people want a new experience in their life, they want to study at different universities or maybe they find love abroad. Australia is one of the many countries that offers all of that and is a very popular choice among Slovenian immigrants.
The causes for migrations are different:
- Migrations after the war in Yugoslavia.
Between the First and Second World Wars, living conditions in Yugoslavia (Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia back then) were not great. A lot of people were hungry and scared. They decided that they had to find better conditions for living, so they went to countries where war did not leave such terrible consequences.
- Political reasons
After the World Wars, people feared that future leaders would be the same as the leaders during the wars. They were afraid of revival of Fascism and Nazism. They did not want to have the same life again- life with persecution, they wanted their rights and a peaceful, quiet life.
- Economic reasons
Australia was the country with rapid economic growth and the government was in search of labor force. People were excited by good living standards, employment opportunities, and higher incomes. Immigrants were usually former farmers, people with lower education, and unqualified workers.
- Personal and family reasons
Some people from Slovenia went to Australia because they met their life partners who were from there. They created families, and their children usually do not speak Slovenian language, unfortunately.
The biggest wave of migrations to Australia was during the years 1950 and 1960. Back then, Slovenia was still a part of Yugoslavia. At this time, almost 30 000 Slovenian people immigrated to Australia, a lot of them illegally.
On the census survey in the year 2016, 17 863 people in Australia defined/identified themselves as Slovenians. Only 5556 of them were born in Slovenia. Unofficially, in Australia between 20 000 and 25 000 people are estimated to be of Slovene origin.
There are eleven Slovenian centers in Australia, three religious ones.
- Five national centers and one religious center are in Melbourne. Melbourne is a city with the biggest number of Slovenian immigrants.
- In Sidney, there are two national centers and one religious one.
- A lot of Slovenian people are in Adelaide, Geelong, and Wolong, too.
To sum up, a lot of Slovenian people went to Australia in the past and Australia is still very desired location. There are a lot of different reasons for migrations, and every single person has a different story. I believe that people are never happy about leaving their home country, but they do that for their future and in search for a better life. Many have Slovenia in their hearts, and they respect our culture, even thousand kilometers away.
This video was prepared by Mojca Krajnc & Manca Sverc in the frame of the “The Heart of a City” project funded by ACF Slovenia. Read more about the project.